Kobe, Japan: UAE Royals notched up their second consecutive win with a comprehensive victory over home team Japan Warriors on the second day of the International Premier League Tennis here on Thursday.
The Warriors failed to cash in on the huge home crowd support as the Royals emerged 30-15 victorious. The home team not win a single set as the Royals bagged all five of them.
The pair of Kristina Mlaenovic/Daniel Nestor put the Royals ahead with a 6-0 win over the Warriors duo of Maria Sharapova and Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the mixed doubles. Leander Paes was substituted in by the team in place of Herbert, but it was too late by then.
The women's singles saw Ana Ivanovic taking on Sharapova and the crowd witnessed some sizzling tennis with both women fighting it off stroke for stroke. Ultimately, Ivanovic took the set 6-4 giving the Royals a huge lead on the scoreboard.
The legends singles took audiences back a decade or more, with big boys Marat Safin and Goran Ivanisevic pitted against each other. Goran's quick-footed and quick-witted tennis won it for the Royals 6-4.
The men's doubles with Paes/Herbert brought some much-needed cheer to home fans. There was brilliant stroke play and clever shot making by Paes on the nets, but Nestor/Berdych won the set 6-4.
In the closing match of the day, Berdych and Philipp Kohlschreiber were pitted in the men's singles rubber. Berdych won the set 6-3, closing out the match with his side winning by a huge margin.
Talking about the IPTL, Sharapova later said, "I think the IPTL is wonderful. Last time it was my first time in Manila, this time, it's my first time in Kobe and I really like that. Playing on the tour, we keep going to the same places all the time, and going to new places is what motivates me, makes me feel good, I like the energy. Next year, it could be another new city."
Safin said, "The IPTL is a great concept. The players are having fun, the fans are enjoying it. Who knows, in the coming years, this could grow bigger and bigger and then, countries would have their own teams to play in the IPTL, more like the World Championships."
"It is my first time, so it's a bit complicated for me. It's a different feeling to get used to, and then the shot clock and the power point got to my head. But I will be more prepared for the next game."